Avatars Invade The Superbowl

  It’s official, Avatars are have become official spokes-entities for a major corporation (Coca-Cola) and invaded the most prestigious and priciest advertising venue on the planet, the Superbowl!  Coca-Cola’s decision to base a Superbowl commercial on a avatar-centric theme, tells us they believe there is significant market potential in Virtual Worlds.

Coke's Virtual Refreshment Campaign in Second Life

Coke's Virtual Thirst Campaign in Second Life

Coca-Cola is no stranger to Virtual Worlds.  Their entry into Second Life in 2007, with their Virtual Thirst Campaign, drew huge media attention and was a catalyst for many other Fortune 500 marketing experiments in Second Life.  Although the Virtual Thirst campaign quickly went “flat,” Coca-Cola came back to Second Life in the fall of 2008 with their Nestea brand, as sponsors of the Junkyard Blues Sim.

A couple of things struck me about Coca-Cola’s new avatar-centric commercial.  First, the commercial portrays avatars of all kinds in an extremely positive way.  They are seen as real life mothers, businessman, students and well, regular people.  This is a great change from the largely negative press avatars have received, by a media as obsessed with reporting stories about  sex and adultery in virtual worlds as they are in 1st Life.

The second thing I noticed was the conspicuous lack of any direct web or virtual world connection.  You would think this would have been a terrific opportunity for Coca-Cola to include a link to a “refreshed” (pun intended) Virtual Thirst portal, where you could obtain / purchase branded products for your avatar or connect to the brand in your virtual world of choice.

With Web sites like GoDaddy.com generating 1.5 Million hits by the end of the Superbowl, it may be awhile before we see any Superbowl ads linked directly to Second Life.  After all, the number of simultaneous visitors (>50) generated by an ad on the back of a bus would likely crash most SL sims!

The Chasm in Technology Adoption

The Chasm in Technology Adoption

Despite no direct promotion for Second Life or other Virtual worlds, the new Coke commercial will obviously help the already accelerating acceptance of Avatars and Virtual Worlds into everyday life.  It will likely also serve as a bridge across “The Chasm” between “Early Adopters & Visionaries” and the “Early Majority Pragmatists” on the technology adoption curve.

As a technology enthusiast and early adopter/visionary, I’m thrilled to see avatars finally getting some of the respect they deserve.   As a business person, involved in developing Virtual World technologies and solutions, I look forward to the potential for profit, this new respectibility will hopefully bring.

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2 Responses to “Avatars Invade The Superbowl”

  1. Great post Valiant, we shall prevail! 🙂

  2. Terry Toland Says:

    While I do see the positive and enjoyed this post, when I watched the commercial, it looked like everyone was distracted by technology, and that being an avatar was taking away from life.

    The story of the ad was about a guy who wasn’t online and who didn’t have an avatar, and in the end, he brought someone out of that world to be in reality. If anything, this brings up memories of soda-shops where people would get together to spend time – and have a Coke – with one another as entertainment.

    Though it does show that being ‘connected’ is more common, I think the real purpose is on the human element, rather than the technological. Maybe that’s why there wasn’t an ad for Coke’s virtual endeavors.

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